Is your diet healthy? What exactly does that question even mean these days???
“Healthy” is relative to what your beliefs are today. For example, many vegans believe consuming animal protein is inhumane and unhealthy, while most Paleo diet folks consider vegans to be very unhealthy.
Can’t we all get along? 🙂
From 1988-1996 I believed dietary fat from any source was the enemy and I did my best to avoid it. I often ate fat free foods, lots of grains, fruit, added sugar and dairy products.
I had an undiagnosed learning disability, constant gas and bloating, muscle and joint pains often and belly fat. I worked out for 4 hours per day on average during this period.
Much of my fear of fat was reinforced by my professors at the University of California, Davis. I was told to follow the food pyramid, which has since been changed, but is still waaaay behind the times.
Dr. Mercola just sent out an article To Get Thinner, Turn the Food Pyramid on It’s Head. I highly recommend his food pyramid for optimal health as it is very similar to what I teach. I have never seen his model until today, but I will start using this pyramid in my coaching. Click on the image below to see it larger on Dr. Mercola’s website:
Dr. Mercola, my colleague Dr. Heidi and I agree that most people would benefit from getting at least 50 percent of daily calories from healthy fats, such as avocados, coconut oil, nuts and raw organic butter. Our carbs should come primarily from veggies. There are also some carbs in nuts so beware.
When I first heard this high fat recommendation from Dr. Heidi I was seriously freaked out that anyone could eat that much fat and live 🙂 After following a high fat diet for over a year now and having hundreds of my coaching clients follow it also, I can attest that this is the easy, fast and safe way to lose body fat and achieve optimal health without doing much exercise.
Crazy huh? Increase fat content and reduce exercise. Still can’t believe I advocate this 🙂
My basic philosophy is to find the right “fuel” for each coaching client I work with, without the attachment to a particular camp.
Sometimes our beliefs get in the way of our health & fitness goals and they need to be changed.
Through education and awareness our beliefs can change, but we must first identify there is a potential problem, then we must be open to change and experimentation.
I am blessed to have the opportunity to have a coaching call with Dr. Heidi Dulay once a week, every Tuesday, and I pick her brain as much as I can.
Sometimes I have questions from my coaching clients that I need her assistance and below I thought I would share her responses to a couple good questions:
Question #1 from Kym: “I am getting ready to start eating really clean again as my diet is horrible now and I’ve gained a bunch of weight. I want to know your thoughts on jump starting that with 2,3 or 5 days of juicing only just to get all the crap out of my system and on the right track. Any advice about that?”
Dr. Hedi: “Kym, Juicing is a great idea for cleansing, but if you have been eating “horribly”, the first thing to do is clean up your regular food. That could take a week or two. When you feel your regular food is back to “health-giving” (rather than horrible :)) then do your juicing. Otherwise, your body will have scant resources to fall back on while you’re juicing.
Remember, dilute your juices 50-50 with good water (especially fruit juices) — to minimize the insulin spike.
Question #2 from Jennifer: “All is well, happy healthy, active and the same weight. Strong as ever but not losing fat. I eat two eggs with butter and a cup of tea at 6:30 am. It lasts me until 10:00 am. I have my kefir and whole fat yogurt with strawberry and a banana at 10:00 am. Then I eat a cabbage salad and veggies and some cheese and nuts at about 1:30 pm and some fruit (about a cup’s worth) cut up at least 2 types at about 4:00 pm. Dinner is at 7:00 pm after boot camp and is vegetables with a 1/4 cup of rice or pasta (about once a week) mostly veggies and olive oil ginger garlic and fresh herbs. Nothing after that except fish oil before bed.
The veggies and the fruits changes with the season. But that is a normal day. I have changed the milk and yogurt to whole fat, organic and just pasteurized. Raw isn’t working for me. Kerry Gold is the butter and the olive oil is top quality first press fresh.
I don’t eat big portions. I eat on a small plate. I drink a lot of water about 80 ounces a day. I also I drink about two glasses of wine a week.
I am active at least six days a week in some way; 4 to 5 boot camps, one yoga, one day kayaking, then comes Sunday, gardening, hiking or something else active and doing laundry and house stuff. I also normally go for a 4 mile walk at lunch time.
I have plenty of energy. So, any thoughts?”
Answer from Dr. Heidi: “Jennifer, congratulations on such a good eating style! and exercise program. Here are a few tweaks on eating:
Yogurt, even full fat, is 30% sugar (lactose from the milk). It is fattening and has less than one-third the good bacteria compared to kefir.
Commercial kefir has too much lactose left in it. I use homemade kefir which I ferment myself with real bacteria (not powdered). It’s quick to do… I do a kefir breakfast drink about 4 times per a week.
If you are of Scandinavian or Northern European descent, you can go to town on butter and cheese. A number of my clients who are fat sensitive thrive on dairy fat. Select raw butter and raw goat or sheep cheese. Raw gets you the vitamins, and the size of goat/sheep molecules are almost identical to human, whereas cow is 5x larger.
If you want to do the best butter, try Organic Pastures RAW butter — unsalted. You’ll be getting Vitamins A and D in significant amounts, in addition to the dairy fat and the CLA in it. Kerrygold is great among the pasteurized butters, but the vitamins are no longer there.
Bananas are fattening…
All fruit, even berries, can be fat producing if you are a fast metabolizer like I am. You can determine the speed of your metabolism. Doesn’t matter if you’re fast or leisurely. What matters is matching your food to your speed.
Nuts can be fattening also — they are about one-third carbs, and are difficult to digest. Compared to potato or corn chips they’re a fabulous snack, but when it comes to tweaking a diet, they can be the culprit.
Experiment with how much fat your body can process well. People are different. “High” fat for you may be meager fat for Brien or me. Support your liver as much as possible; it polices, and can create, fat from dietary carb.
For liver support, drink milk thistle tea every day, or take a good milk thistle supplement. Green tea is also helpful. If you don’t eat animal protein, take an amino acid complex — an array of amino acids is necessary for liver support. Vitamin C and selenium too. And eat lots of spinach and broccoli (if you can digest them) for their alpha lipoic acid contribution.
If you make any dietary changes, give them at least 1–3 weeks to “work”. Quickest and best evaluation is waist or belly circumference in inches or centimeters.”
I share these questions and answers with you so you can learn from the coaching. Kym asked a great question about getting back on the wagon and I often think doing something drastic like a juice cleanse is a good reset. Dr. Heidi says keep it simple and eat clean food.
Like many who have been working on their health for a while, Jennifer seems to be doing a great job, but Dr. Heidi did a little detective work and gave her some things to work on.
Finding your ideal fuel source is a never-ending journey, but a worthwhile one given it is the foundation for your health, fitness and wellness.
I hope this info helps you!
New Coaching Program:
I am launching a new program for those desiring specific nutrition & lifestyle coaching from me to reach your goals in a small group setting (no exercise coaching).
We will meet once a week at my studio in Belmont, and I will help you with strategies to reduce stress, body fat, pain and more. Besides me as your coach, you will also have a new support system with the rest of the group there to pick you up when needed and to share their similar obstacles and wins. If you’d like a spot, the process is simple:
Send me an email right away to firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject line that reads “Coaching with Brien”
In the email write a few sentences about yourself, your health & fitness goals and the #1 reason why you’d like to be a part of this special small group coaching session. Keep it short.
Your friend & coach,
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